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Why Men Hate Going to Church Paperback – October 21, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Murrow, a television writer and producer, asks and effectively answers the question: "What is it about modern Christianity that is driving men away?" Just 35% of American men say they attend church weekly, he reports, and women make up more than 60% of the typical congregation on a given Sunday. Murrow contends that the church caters to women, children and the elderly by creating a safe, predictable environment. This alienates anyone fond of risk taking, including young men and women, but men are affected most. In order to reach men, Murrow suggests, churches must "adjust the thermostat" to embrace the masculine spirit: let men lead; give them tasks; encourage pastors to show strength and teach men through object lessons, letting them discover truth for themselves. Two of the best outreach methods: start rigorous mentoring programs and help men make friends with other men. Murrow bases his conclusions on what he claims are legitimate biological and cultural gender differences. He is aware that these observations might offend, and his thesis will find few takers among those who believe that the church needs less, not more, male influence. But Murrow's work is quite likely to get an enthusiastic reception from many Christian men. It contains sharp observations that will provoke much discussion—and, perhaps, some change. (Mar. 24)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

According to the author, American men hate going to church, as evidenced by a wealth of statistics that point to an ever-widening gap between female and male churchgoers. Regardless of denomination, it appears that most Christian churches are unintentionally designed to appeal to women and children. How to solve the growing gender gap in congregations of every type? Murrow advocates injecting a strong shot of testosterone into the proceedings to restore the masculine spirit to the church. Churches need to provide a more challenging and confrontational approach to religion and spiritual issues instead of concentrating on more traditional-- and female-oriented--calls for conformity, control, and ceremony. Whether or not you fully buy into his somewhat simplistic hypothesis and solution, Murrow does provide some provocative food for thought on a hot-button topic. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785260382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785260387
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (417 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #618,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Murrow is not the kid of guy you'd expect to write books about men and church. He's not a pastor, professor or theologian. He's just a guy in the pews who noticed a disturbing trend: churches are losing their men and boys.

So in 2001, he started doing some research, which led to his first book, Why Men Hate Going to Church. To everyone's surprise, it became an inspirational bestseller, with more than 100,000 copies in print. His efforts have spawned articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. You may have seen him on PBS, the NBC Nightly News, or the Fox News Channel talking about Christianity's gender gap.

David was raised in Texas, but has lived in Alaska since 1985. He's a television producer and writer by trade. He's worked for just about every channel on the dial - from ABC to the Travel Channel. One of his specialties is political advertising. In fact, he wrote and produced Sarah Palin's first TV commercial back in 2002.

David has been married to Gina since 1984, and they have three children, two grandchildren and a dachshund that thinks she's a grandchild. To contact David, send an e-mail to:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 128 people found the following review helpful By James Porter on April 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
If your reading of Eldredge's "Wild At Heart" left you feeling a little "squishy," you'll probably find the meat you were looking for in Murrow's book. As a pastor who frequently wrings his hands wondering "where are the men?" this book was incredibly insightful as to where they have gone and why they're not in my congregation on Sunday mornings.

It will change the way we do church around here, for sure. It will confirm some of your key suspicions, an--in my case-- challenge me to make changes I know have to come if we're going to see men in church again. The guy's a good writer, too.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Richard L. Gerberding on June 17, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When "Why Men Hate Going to Church" first came out in 2005, I loved it. I've had the opportunity to talk with a lot of men, pastors, and churches about the topic, and enjoy taking people beyond the initial "no way" response into thinking about the details.

The biggest hurdle I've come across with groups disagreeing is what I'm calling the "should be" model. This reads about why men aren't in church, and then say "well men should be ______". (more studious, more loving, more caring, more disciplined).

Point taken. But the "should be" is saying men should change, and then come into church.

Jesus didn't say to the fishermen, "Men, you stink. Go home and take a shower. Then learn the Scriptures, writing them upon your hearts and applying them. You should also learn to worship the right way, and understand where all your priorities should be.

"After you have done these things, then come back and I will teach you things, and then more things, and then more things, that will change your life."

Did Jesus say this? No, he said, "Follow me, and I will make you Fishers of Men."

Who can imagine a Billy Graham crusade without "Just as I am, Lord." Max Lucado wrote "God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be... just like Jesus."

If our churches repel men, or worse evoke no emotion whatsoever other than a 'check the Sunday morning box' experience, how will that man ever change?

In Chemistry, a catalyst is any material that increases the rate or efficiency of a chemical reaction. However the catalyst only functions if it is PRESENT. It doesn't work if the catalyst is in a separate test tube than the one reacting.

All churches would say they want more men.
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110 of 133 people found the following review helpful By Tractor_Man on February 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
"The church of the first century was a magnet to males. Jesus' strong leadership, blunt honesty, and bold action mesmerized men."

"But today's churches appeal more to women and folks over 50."

Males in church are perceived, right or wrong, as passive, bookish, soft, nice, well-behaved, neutered wimps.

David Murrow has written an absolute must-read book for all churches interested in bringing men back, restoring a proper balance of the masculine and feminine spirits within the local church, creating an environment in which men will lovingly take charge, thrive, grow and be soldiers again in the Lord's army.

I don't consider myself a type-A personality. I'm pretty laid-back, studious and love going to church. I've love fellowshipping with God's people. I'm not a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal that gets distracted after 10 minutes of a sermon. I don't need the constant stimulus of entertainment to hold my interest, but I found myself burning with a `holy anger' reading this book, mostly at myself for how `feminine' I've allowed myself to become over the years. And please, no more `Jesus is my boyfriend' songs !!

Two other men I know have been deeply affected to the positive by this book and are absolutely fired up about restoring the masculine spirit in their lives as well as their local church. One of them told me recently "I'm hanging up my skirt - not going to wear it anymore."

David is not advocating a bombastic, abusive male domination of our churches. Don't panic ladies, but let men be men. We were created to lead and contribute. "Most men will not invest themselves in anything that does not offer a shot at greatness.
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45 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
While I feel that Murrow uses some pretty broad generalizations, stereotyping, and over-statements to stress his point(s), he at least brings up some very important and relevant issues that a lot of pastors are either unaware of, will not address, or maybe even admit to. Of course, as with any Christian book, one must read it critically in light of Scripture and only glean out of it what is beneficial for spreading God's fame among all people.

I am a bi-vocational pastor of a church plant in the (very traditional) Deep South. Coming from a business background, I have had the opportunity to see the "behind the scenes" of a lot of church staffs from a different perspective. One thing that I have observed over and over, is that many - not all, but many - full-time pastors have lost touch with the culture in which they are trying to minister to because they have been in the "church bubble" for so long. Many do not have a work ethic that would even stand up in the secular workplace. Yet some of these guys are paid twice the salary of what most of their congregation makes. So, sadly, they do not have an accurate perception of what is reality among their people, and therefore have no clue how to truly lead and disciple in a way that is relevant and Christ-honoring. In fact, most of the churches around here could be transported back to the 1950's without even skipping a beat. The sad thing is that most don't even want to change. Methods can and should change; the Message must never change.

Bottom line, I would recommend this book to any church staff because I believe it would be a good tool in at least opening dialogue among the church leaders and possibly expanding their vision of what the church should be contextually in their culture and harnessing the God-given power that is currently untapped, especially among the men.
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